In memoriam: Robert E. Evenson

Robert (Bob) Eugene Evenson of New Haven, professor emeritus of economics, died on Feb. 2. He was 78 years old.

Evenson authored many books and collaborated on numerous publications in the areas of economic agricultural research, development, and education, as well as the areas of agricultural biotechnology, and the development and marketing of genetically modified foods.

He supervised and advised several hundred students at Yale, including many who now hold positions of leadership around the world.

Evenson began his career as a farmer in southern Minnesota. After years on the land, he embarked on an academic career, earning degrees at the University of Minnesota and Chicago. Most of his academic career was spent at Yale. He was also a visiting professor at the University of the Philippines.

As professor of economics at Yale 1977-2007, he also served as the director of the Economic Growth Center and director of the International Development Economics Program.

The obituary for Evenson in the New Haven Register notes: “He enjoyed hosting many Yale-Harvard football tail-gate parties for his new (and sometimes bewildered) students from overseas. He sported a full-length Russian bear coat at the cold games. He enjoyed every crazy travel adventure he had traveling gratefully around the world. Bob cared deeply about the poor of the world and devoted much of his working life to the development of better and stronger yields of rice on smaller plots of land. He was an honorable man doing honorable work on behalf of the world's people. He had a big, full life in his quiet way.”

In addition to his wife, Judy, Evenson is survived by his children Nancy Bogue, Patsy Opsal, Joseph Evenson and Sarah Ward. He leaves two sisters Mildred Brillinger and Dorothy Evenson; two brothers DuWayne and Donald Evenson; and seven grandchildren.

Gifts in his memory may be made to the Robert E. Evenson Fund at Yale’s Economic Growth Center and/or to the Music Series Fund of Bethesda Lutheran Church.